High School DxD Hero
Episode 5

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 5 of
High School DxD Hero ?

With five episodes behind us, I continue to be underwhelmed by how this season has handled Shadow Guy. His presence may have been necessary to fill some story holes, but about the only purpose he actually serves is to clarify that Cao Cao isn't necessarily evil and that Sacred Gear users have been exploited and ostracized over the course of time. We've known the latter point since as far back as the first season. Concluding the battle with him makes things a little more interesting at the beginning of the episode, with the fox girl jumping in to briefly help out, but ultimately everything involving him has been a throwaway so far.

That's especially true when compared to the main battles that form the meat of the episode. The battle last episode was just an abortive prelude; this is where the real smackdown happens. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't go well for the Gremory team, as all of their opponents are Sacred Gear users who are well-schooled in their Balance Breakers. The three-sword guy shows that he can sprout up to six arms when he goes all-out, so of course he can handle Yuto and Xenovia, even though the latter has her newly-upgraded version of Durandel. Irina finds herself facing the young woman who turns out to be a reincarnation of Jeanne d'Arc, which raises the question of whether she could go all-out against such an opponent, but she gets trounced too. So does Rossweisee (who might have the excuse of still being hung over) against the man who turns out to be Hercules or his reincarnation. At least Issei doesn't prove to be a total pushover against Cao Cao, as he is able to get in good enough blows to force Cao Cao to resort to healing, and Asia shows plenty of merit as a support player, while the snake guy deals with the bigger issue of the fox girl's mother and her transformation into the nine-tailed fox.

This all follows a pretty standard shonen action pattern, as all of the supporting fighters get trounced, leaving only the protagonist (who's having his own problems) standing. Even so, I'm a little disappointed that none of the others could even hold their ground in this fight. At least it looks like Cao Cao and crew are more interested in a test of strength than outright killing anyone, but unless they're under orders not to kill, that seems a little out of character for the kind of mission they're performing. I did at least like how the key to Issei realizing his potential is to accept his Boob Dragon nature and thus summon the boobs that are only for him – in other words, Rias. Now the series will stop having to resort to bath scenes with Rias, Koneko, and Akeno in order to shoehorn their fan service quota into the episodes.

I'm also curious to see how Rias will be handled as the battle continues next episode. So far she hasn't had much chance to do anything this season, and given my previous concerns about how they seem to have softened her character, I am eager to see if we're finally going to see some of the classic imperial Rias. Her cutesy gasp at the end of this episode was worrisome, but we'll see what happens. Overall this is the best set of action scenes yet, even though the series still feels like it's underperforming.

Rating: B-

High School DxD Hero is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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